Library Suggestions: Other Suggestions and Comments
Surge strips or extension cords should be on loan during high traffic times, such as during midterm and finals studying!
From: an undergraduate student
Jodi Koste, Head of TML Resources and Operations, replies...
Thank you for your suggestion. At the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences you will find surge protectors/extension cords available for loan for use within the building. Stop by our Service Desk to check out this equipment or to learn more about the items available for loan when you are working in the library.
To whom it may concern, I find that it shows a remarkable lack of foresight to schedule singing in a university library at any point in time.
From: an undergraduate student
Dennis T. Clark, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies...
Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your need to use library spaces for quiet study -- it is one of our most important offerings. However, as part of our weeks-long exhibit, we wanted to incorporate a live-performance, and tie it into Valentine's Day. Our fabulous musicians from the School of the Arts, Gianna Barone and Denver Walker, gave wonderful performances. In order to keep any distractions at a minimum, we placed the performance in our lobby (our version of Grand Central Station) and scheduled during a lunch hour, when we have the most traffic. We often use that same space for visual and interactive art exhibits, so it seemed like the perfect place for the performing arts.
You'll be happy to know that we don't often have live music in the library -- this may be a first. I'm very glad that you are an active library user and encourage your comments on other library events in the future.
I would like to suggest that the libraries adopt a "netflix" type service with all books/journals available in the libraries. If we (faculty, staff) could order materials and have them delivered to our offices on campus, that would be fantastic, and I would use the libraries much more. Currently, it is difficult to walk/drive and make the time to go the libraries to get materials (dropping off is more convenient), and so I usually go elsewhere or do without. I know that many other universities have this system set up, and think it would be great to have here as well.
From: a faculty member
Shirley Thomas, Head of Resource Delivery Services replies...
VCU Libraries currently offers a Book/Media Delivery service to all users. Staff will retrieve and arrange delivery of books and other media held in the VCU Libraries collection to the patrons home or office.
* Patrons who are eligible for our enhanced services receive this service for free. For more information and to determine if you qualify for this service go to http://www.library.vcu.edu/ill/enhanced.html.
* Patrons who are not eligible for free book/media delivery service are charged a $5 fee per filled request. To request this service, you must make sure
1. your ILLiad profile indicates ' Mail to Address' in the Loan Delivery Method field and
2. you reply 'Yes' to the first question on the ILLiad request form....' Is this item available in the VCU Libraries collection?'.
VCU Libraries also has a 'free copy pilot' underway. This pilot provides free copies of articles and book chapters of materials from the VCUL collections to faculty, staff, and Health System employees. Normally, there is a $5 fee for this service.
VCU Libraries has surveyed peer institution and discussed ways to offer these services to all users without charging. Unfortunately, due to staffing and cost, we are not able to provide these services for free to all VCU Libraries users. We hope that when the budgetary climate improves, we will be able to expand these services.
We hope that the current 'book/media service' and the 'pilot free copy' service will fulfill most of your needs. Let us know if you have additional questions by contacting us at 804-828-1115 or Libjbcrds@vcu.edu.
Hi, I am a teacher at a local school and would like to use the library for research and preparation. Does VCU allow community members access to the library? Is it possible to get borrowing privileges? Is there a fee? Thank you for taking the time to reply.
From: a library patron
Dan Ream, Director of Outreach and Distance Learning, replies...
Thanks for your inquiry about community members' access to VCU Libraries. Our two library buildings are open to the public for academic research purposes, without charge, though VCU ID card bearers only are admitted to Cabell Library after 10PM during the academic year.
Borrowing privileges can be obtained by those 18 years old and over by joining the Friends of the VCU Libraries You may view specific privileges and borrowing periods for Friends of the Libraries and other borrower types.
Students and teachers at a few affiliated high schools, including Open High School,
Richmond Community High School, Maggie Walker Governor's School and Appomattox Regional Governor's School also are granted limited borrowing privileges. VCU Libraries also shares material with high school teachers and students via interlibrary loan to high school libraries. Check with your high school librarian for details.
For further information about high school teachers' or students use of VCU Libraries, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-828-6545.
I'm wondering if it would be made possible to display the # of times renewed & # renewals left for each item on the list of checked out titles, as well as if there are hold restrictions placed for a particular book. This way, assuming no requests are being made by another patron, it renders a better estimate how much time is left for each item.
From: an undergraduate student
Nell Chenault, Access Librarian and Head, Media and Reserves Services replies...
You suggest an interesting customization to VCU Libraries' circulation renewal system, an idea which would benefit both borrowers who wish to renew items and library users with active hold requests waiting for the item to be returned! VCU Libraries explored whether this customization is possible. We found that the 2010 version upgrade of our circulation system software will provide enhancement to the My Library Record "Loan and Renewal" feature to show the current number of renewals to date and remaining renewals at the top level loan list screen.
Currently My Library Record displays both hold request and renewal limit information through the "Loans & Renewals" feature. Select the numbered link next to the title for more details.
- If the title collection cannot be renewed (i.e. course reserves, DVD's), you will see the message, "No renew permission for item."
- If you have reached your limit in the number of renewals for that item, you will see "Renewal limit reached."
- If another user has a hold request on the title, the message "Item has holds" will display.
Different patron statuses (undergraduate, graduate, faculty, staff, etc.) and different collections have varying renewal privileges. For information about renewal privileges by borrower category and by collection, see the VCU Libraries Borrowing Privileges Table. For information about renewal methods, limits, and blocks, see Renewing Materials.
If you have questions about renewals, contact any of the VCU Libraries circulation services desks. Thank you for your suggestion!
Having someone come to the downstairs computer lab every once in a while to shut people up would be great. At this very moment, there are two people speaking loudly on the phone around me, one who's been yelling into it at points, with no concern to those around her. There are also a number of very loud conversations going on around me. I'm trying to study Calculus, and focusing is EXTREMELY difficult with all this turmoil.
From: an undergraduate student
Jim Bostick with Technology Services responds....
Technology Services, who operates the Cabell Library basement Computer Lab, will be adding signs to indicate that the basement computer lab is a soft voice area. While we have not had much success with occasional "rounds" to deter this kind of behavior, most students will be respectful of others if they are aware that this crowded lab is a soft voice area. For the long term, VCU Libraries and Technology Services are working together on a proposal to improve the student computing space in Cabell Library.
I just called the reference desk and the media reserves, and the people are constantly rude. I have experienced this multiple times. I am calling from off campus and they would not tell me if they had a movie, and was very rude throughout the conversation.
From: an undergraduate student
Pat Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies...
I am very sorry to hear that you had this experience. Thank you for alerting us and please feel free to send any additional details or reports of future concerns you have.
I have requested that managers of Reference, Circulation, and Media and Reserves departments check their staffing schedules to see who was working just prior to your email. I have asked them to remind those individuals, and service desk staff in general, about the importance of good customer service practices and courteous interactions with library patrons, both in person and on the phone. In addition, I have asked them to remind staff that while they are not always able to leave their posts to check shelves, they should do catalog lookups to confirm whether or not we own an item.
Please let me know if this response does not address the situation you reported.
Hi there, you used to have a RefWorks link on your main libraries site, now it takes two screens to get to the link... Would you consider putting it back where it was? That was really helpful!
From: a faculty member
Cate Canevari, Associate Director, Research and Education Tompkins-McCaw Library, responds...
Thank you for contacting the VCU Libraries regarding access and links to RefWorks. We appreciate you taking the time to send us your question and feedback, and will forward this to the Web Development team. RefWorks is indeed a very popular resource, and as a result there is a link to the RefWorks guide from our QuickLinks menu located on the library homepage. The guide has a direct link to "Connect to RefWorks", which gives you access to the resource with two clicks.
Because RefWorks is relatively new to our users, we currently link to the Resource Guide that explains access to RefWorks since remote access for RefWorks is handled slightly different from our other resources. It is possible that in the future we will link directly to the resource as more VCU users become familiar with RefWorks. In the meantime please know that your feedback is being considered.
How come I can't find the suggestion blog on your web site any more? Are you tired of our suggestions? Or just tired of answering them?
Jimmy Ghaphery, head of Library Information Systems, replies...
Thank you for the suggestion, we are always looking at ways to improve the site. Currently the quickest method to find the Suggestion Blog is along with all of our other blogs. Click on the Podcasts & Blogs link in the Library News section of the homepage. To submit suggestions, click on the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page. Based on your suggestion we are also planning to add a direct link to the Suggestion Blog from the Contact Us page.
1. Fee for printing is unreasonable. Some of the library should be like CBIL and medical students should be able to log on and print. 2. Hospital access should be available from the library (ie Cerner). I can't think of a year other than 3rd year when research is more critical and simultaneous access to a patient's info, the internet, and journals is more essential. 3. Study rooms need to be updated, they are not heated/cooled adequately. Tables and chairs need to be updated. 4. Obviously the hours as others have mentioned.
From: a graduate student
Cate Canevari, Associate Director, Research and Education, Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences responds....
Dear Ms. Pelkofski,
Thank you for contacting us regarding your concerns; we appreciate your feedback! Our responses to the points you raise are inserted below.
“1. Fee for printing is unreasonable. Some of the library should be like CBIL and medical students should be able to log on and print.”
The VCU Libraries uses the VCU Technology Services Pay4Print service, which is the service available in a number of other campus buildings including Sanger Hall, the Business Building, and the University Commons. The School of Medicine offers free printing just to SOM students, whereas VCU Libraries computers are open to students, faculty, and staff from both campuses as well as members of the general public. Using the Pay4Print allows us to provide reliable and consistent printer services across campuses to our library users. To reduce the cost of printing, you might consider saving articles to portable media, BlackBoard, or email. Another option would be to create a RefWorks account to keep track of citation information including the GetIt@VCU link that will take you directly to online journal articles available through the library. The following links offer additional tips for printing using Pay4Print, as well as locations where Pay4Print is available on campus:
“2. Hospital access should be available from the library (ie Cerner). I can't think of a year other than 3rd year when research is more critical and simultaneous access to a patient's info, the internet, and journals is more essential.”
The Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences is not able to offer access to CERNER due to HIPAA and computer security issues. The VCU Health System restricts access to CERNER and other hospital systems.
“3. Study rooms need to be updated, they are not heated/cooled adequately. Tables and chairs need to be updated.“
We are working on restoring adequate heating and cooling to the 2nd floor study rooms. A major chill water pipe which helped to moderate the temperatures in the study rooms had to be replaced. The process has been long and complex, but it is almost complete and we hope temperatures will soon be comfortable again. Should you be uncomfortable in the future while using the rooms, please alert our Service Desk Staff and we will have the room thermostat adjusted.
The furnishings in the 2nd floor study rooms are less than 2 years old. We welcome your specific suggestions on how the furnishings can be improved.
“4. Obviously the hours as others have mentioned.”
The Tompkins-McCaw Library Director, Jean Shipman, has responded to feedback and welcomes students to meet with her to discuss their needs in person. These meetings will be held in the 1st Floor Tompkins-McCaw Library Conference Room right behind the Skull & Beans coffee service:
3:00 pm -- Friday, Sept. 14th
12:15 pm -- Monday, Sept. 17th
In the meantime, please note that the Hunton Student Center Learning Center is open until 10pm, and access to electronic library resources are available there. In addition to the Learning Center, there are study cubicles available throughout the Hunton Student Center.
I do hope that you will be able to attend one of the meetings with Jean to discuss your concerns in more detail as we do need your assistance. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
The new Web site is great!!! Much easier to navigate and user friendly!
From: a graduate student
Susan Teague-Rector, Web Applications Manager, replies....
Thank you for your comment regarding our new site! With the latest design, we have attempted to improve the accessibility and usability of online collections. The new design was informed by using search log data, user comments from the winter 2007 online survey and focus groups, section 508 accessibility standards and website usability guidelines.
As you noted, part of the focus was to address user needs and to provide easier navigation. Research done by the Web team indicates that searching the Libraries resources is a key feature on the site. Therefore, common search features are better highlighted in the new design to emphasize VCU Libraries online services and collections. In addition, Web search logs indicate that ILLiad, our interlibrary loan and document delivery system, was difficult to find in the old design. A direct link is now available from the homepage to ILLiad to provide simpler access to this popular feature.
Thank you again for your response!
I am very grateful to have the access to the incredible wealth of journals and other online resources that VCU Libraries provides--thank you! One question and related suggestion: why does the home page for the library continue to change so frequently? during fall semester, it seemed like every month, there was a new "look"--new arrangement of icons, new icons, old access points difficult to locate, etc. When time is at a premium, becoming familiar with a new page takes up that valuable time. Is the current page one that will stay for more than a few weeks, or is the changing face of the library home page going to be an ongoing aspect of using this valuable resource? It would help me allocate time for using the online resources if I knew how often to expect a new library home page--could you make this information easily accessible if monthly change will be the norm? Thanks again for the extent of the resources that are there!
Jean Shipman, Director of the Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences and Associate University Librarian, and John Duke, Senior Associate University Librarian, reply.....
Thank you for your comments regarding the recent changes to the VCU Web site. Changes to the VCU Libraries and Tompkins-McCaw Library Web pages are in large part being driven by university guidelines, heightened security, and the desire to bring dynamic, personalized content to our users while allowing them to more fully benefit from our collections and services. We have made only modest and necessary changes to the main VCU Libraries page since last summer. Prior to the redesign, we solicited feedback through surveys of our users, focus groups, and were guided by accessibility standards and accepted best practices in Web design. After the updated pages were completed, we widely vetted the pages to give users opportunity for input.
The nature of the Web is that it is very dynamic and we are trying to focus on the needs of the user, rather than organizational or staff-centric design models. We have found that our users are very adaptable and have quickly taken to the new design. We do not have any current plans for major modifications, although we will continue to make modest changes based upon the feedback and needs of our users. We value all comments we receive and strive to give all of our users Web pages that best reflect their use patterns and needs. We would be glad to set up a meeting with someone from the Tompkins-McCaw Library reference or liaison team to answer any questions you have regarding finding specific resources to help meet your needs.
Suggested addition (free cost) to database (Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences). I am the adminstrator of http://www.kmle.com (KMLE Medical Dictionary) an online medical dictionary search engine. I was wondering if you could add the site to the databases listed at http://www.library.vcu.edu/cfapps/webdb/ulsdb_actionatzip.cfm?AtoZ=ALL If you try the site, you will see that it offers probably the most comprehensive medical dictionary search in the world (at least that is free to access). Thanks for your time, Have a nice day.
Lynne U. Turman, Head, Tompkins-McCaw Library Collections responds....
Thank you for the suggestion to include this site as a link from the VCU Libraries web pages. One of the ways we assist users in finding information is through Resource Guides - http://www.library.vcu.edu/guides. These guides are developed by subject experts to provide easy access to research and reference tools on the web. Web sites included in the guides are evaluated for accuracy, currency, style, sponsorship, and appropriateness for our primary clientele, the University community. Your site will be considered and reviewed for possible inclusion at the next revision of the guides.
I've tried to use the VPN client to connect to the Internet in the library and at Hibbs. The client will not log in, (Remote host not responding). I know I can just use my browser to get onto the network, "partialy" but I would like to use the other connections that the VPN offers. Why won't the VPN client work any longer?
From: David, undergraduate student
Pat Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies....
We have done some investigation and the office that can provide an answer to your question is the Technology Services HelpDesk. We posed this question and the HelpDesk indicated that it may be possible, but they can confirm with more information from you. You can call or walk in to request help, or send an email request via the online form found on their web page. They are located here in the basement of Cabell Library.
Thank you for contacting us with this question.
This is more of a comment than a suggestion. I am very much grateful for the VCU Libraries Library Lite All Nite hours. It has helped me so much over the past few years. I like that you folks provide snacks and much needed caffeine. The folks who have to work late are always helpful and courteous especially since they have to deal with stressed out students like me. Thanks.
From: Tavarris, undergraduate student
Patricia Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies....
Thank you for the compliments regarding Library Lite All Nite. This service was initiated based on requests from the Student Government Association (SGA) in Spring 2005, and has been popular, particularly during the first week of exams. We are pleased that the service has been helpful to you, and that your experiences have been positive. Good luck on exams.
When Java 901 closes early or closes at all, it will be thoughtful if they can put some signs letting students know ahead of time that they are closed.
From: a staff member
Pat Flanagan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, replies....
Thank you for your comment. I am sorry that you did not receive the service you expected from Java 901. I am forwarding your message on to staff in VCU Dining Services. You may also contact them through their web form at http://www.bsv.vcu.edu/vcufood/fsc.asp.
Thank you for letting us know of your concerns.
Java 901's posted hours are until 10:00pm. Yet, several times I've been refused coffee before that time. Tonight, when I approached the counter at 9:45, the employee told me she was sorry, but they had already dumped the coffee. Either the posted hours should be changed, or one should be able to get coffee until 10:00.
From: graduate student
Curtis Lyons, Interim Associate University Librarian for Public Services replies....
We are sorry that you were not able to receive service during Java 901s posted hours. I have forwarded this message on to VCU's Dining Services department, they are in charge of all operations on both campuses including Java 901. Concerns with any of their venues can be communicated to them using this web form .
I have used this form many times to relate both concerns and compliments. They are very good about addressing both.
Doug Pugh, Retail Operations Manager of Dininig Services replies...
We have taken several steps to resolve this issue:
--I have passed along this comment to the manager of Java 901, DJ Johnson.
--I have asked him to speak to his staff and to make certain that there is no ambiguity about the fact that we close at 10:00pm, and that we serve our entire menu up until that time, and not a minute sooner.
I, too, will reinforce the same message in person.
I apologize for this problem and I will make certain that it is not repeated.
Retail Operations Manager
For about a month, I have not been able to access my e-mail at the library. It allows me to log on, retrieves the records, and then it claims to be done and instead of my e-mail, there is a gray box of nothingness. I can access my e-mail else where.
We have had reports from the VCU Mail Anywhere team of problems with the most recent version of the Firefox browser. We have alerted all of our service desks to this issue as well.
Here is the alert on the VCU Mail Anywhere page:
If you are using the latest version of the Firefox browser (220.127.116.11) you may experience issues with VCU Mail Anywhere. Bugs introduced in this version will be fixed in an upcoming release. Until then, it is recommended that Firefox version 1.0.7, which can be found on the VCU software download site, be used if you desire to access your e-mail with an alternate browser. Internet Explorer is still the supported browser and provides the best functionality with VCU Mail Anywhere.
Internet Explorer is available on the library computers under the start menu. If this doesn't help, you should report the problem to Doctor Notes at email@example.com or contact the Technology Services Help Desk at 828-2227.
Head, Library Information Systems
I enjoyed having the yellow bags with the library logo. I could get a
large amount of books and not worry about over-stuffing my book bag. And
as an added bonus they were quite stylish.
Beth Burton of Circulation & Information services replies...
Bags are back! I apologize for the delay. I think we are the only people in Richmond who didn't mind that it hasn't rained these last few weeks-and we're hoping now that our bags have come in, the drought will end soon.
One of the reasons for the delay in our bag supply is that we order them by the thousands, and it takes some time for our order to be processed. At the same time, I apologize that I failed to take that time delay into account when we ordered!
The new bags have the same design as the last batch-but are also a bit wider and deeper, so they should also be more useful. (We're delighted that you consider them stylish, as well!)
Thanks, too, for your care and concern for the "health" of our collection. Your conscientious question shows your commitment to the VCU community and is greatly appreciated!